War Against Opioid Addiction Makes Those in Constant Pain Collateral Damage

Everyone is shocked and horrified by the epidemic to opioids that has engulfed the country. Doctors are encouraged to alter prescribing habits. However, the opioid epidemic sprung, in part, from the need of patients in constant pain to get some relief. Dennis Prager in National Review talks about one such case that hit home, a friend of his family named Bruce Graham.

Graham fell off a ladder while inspecting his roof for a leak. He suffered severe injuries but eventually emerged from a coma which, writes Prager, might have been the worst thing that could have happened to him.

He couldn’t sleep, eating caused the pain to spike to intolerable levels until by the time of his death—that is, by the time Graham killed himself in despair—he’d lost half his body weight.

“Prescription painkillers—opioids—relieved much of his pain, or at least kept it to a tolerable level,” Graham writes. “But after the initial recuperation period, no doctor would prescribe an opioid despite the fact that this man had a well-documented injury and no record of addiction to any drug, including opioids. Doctors either wouldn’t prescribe them on an ongoing basis, because they feared losing their medical license or being held legally liable for addiction or overdose, or because they deemed Bruce a hypochondriac.”

Source: National Review